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This article analyzes the psychological and neurological underpinnings of crime fiction and discusses the interrelation between cultural and biological-evolutionary determinants of fictions of detection. It argues that although crime fiction is a product of modern life conditions, it is also centrally fueled in the minds of viewers and readers by the mammalian dopamine seeking/wanting system developed for seeking out resources by foraging and hunting and important for focused mental and physical goal-directed activities. The article describes the way the working of the seeking system explains how crime fiction activates strong salience (in some respects similar to the effect of dopamine-drugs like cocaine, Ritalin, and amphetamine) and discusses the role of social intelligence in crime fiction. It further contrasts the unempathic classical detector fictions with two subtypes of crime fiction that blend seeking with other emotions: the hardboiled crime fiction that blends detection with action and hot emotions like anger and bonding, and the moral crime fiction that strongly evokes moral disgust and contempt, often in conjunction with detectors that perform hard to fake signals of moral commitment that make them role models for modern work ethics. The article is part of bio-cultural research that describes how biology and culture interact as argued in Grodal's Embodied Visions.

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The Journal for Movies and Mind

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